Pediatric/Development


DEAR PAT:

My grandson fell out of a shopping cart onto a cement floor at the age of 13 months. He now shows signs of developmental delay (e.g., minor motor dysfunction and communication problems). He knows what a pencil is but when asked to use it, he just looks at you. Could by grandson be experiencing problems due to a brain injury?

DEAR PAT:

My son suffered a brain injury due to shaken baby syndrome. Where can a person look to find more information on this subject?

DEAR PAT:

I teach pre-school children with disabilities. I have a student who is developmentally delayed and has serious emotional/behavioral issues. He has a history of banging his head on hard surfaces. I am curious if all those years of banging his head could have caused some sort of brain trauma which has affected his behavior and his ability to process information.

DEAR PAT:

I am an educator working with a 7-year-old student in the second grade. He has been diagnosed with Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD) and is taking Ritalin. It has been brought to my attention that when this student was 2 -3 years old, he choked and had difficulty breathing for several hours. After medical intervention, he was able to breath on his own. Later, he had to relearn how to walk and talk. Presently, I observe that he is socially delayed; for example, he is combative with authority figures and he is a loner. His emotional development seems to have stalled at a 2-year-old level. He refuses to follow classroom rules. He does not even attempt to do classwork. However, his teachers feel that he is of average academic intelligence. Is it possible that, as a result of oxygen deprivation, he could have suffered brain damage to the extent that it inhibits his social skills development? Is a diagnosis of ODD and a prescription of Ritalin consistent with a circumstance such as I have described?

DEAR PAT:

As a very young child, my daughter sustained a skull fracture due to a fall. At the time, a CT scan and EEG showed normal results. Now my daughter is 6 years old. Having been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), she is on regular medication. Although she does well on the medicine, she and the rest of the family experience continuing frustrations. Did the skull fracture cause the ADD? Who might we contact for help?

DEAR PAT:

We are being accused of shaken baby syndrome and we did not do it. We don’t know how it happened. I have bumped my 5-month-old son’s head on the car door and my five-year-old daughter accidentally kicked him in the head. However, I’m told neither of these could have caused his injury. I’ve read other stories saying it doesn’t have to be a hard hit. If you have any information that can help, please let us know.

DEAR PAT:

I work for an organization for people with developmental disabilities. I recently received a request for information for a 15-year old girl with a TBI. She is being released this weekend from the therapy facility and has no place to live. She is being placed in a residential home with emotionally and behaviorally challenged girls. I am unable to find her an alternative place to live. There is no agency in my area that provides residential care for TBI under 18. I fear for this young lady’s well being. I would appreciate any suggestions you may have. Thank you.

DEAR PAT:

My daughter, Emma, was diagnosed with a medulloblastoma at the age of three. The tumor was removed and she has had radiation and chemotherapy. I want to learn more about how to help her in her academic career, which at this point in time is questionable. She has processing, speech and language problems. At this point, I rely heavily on her special education teachers but they do not have a lot of experience with children with brain injuries like Emma’s. It was suggested that I talk to someone that has dealt with brain injuries to see how we can give Emma the support she needs academically. A psychologist that evaluated Emma suggested that Emma cannot be measured by her peers and that she does not have developmental delays so it would be harder for the special education instructors to help her. Emma will have to figure out how to learn with the guidance of the special education teachers. I feel she will benefit if I could also give her support, but my background is not in education.

DEAR PAT:

Hi, My son is currently 5 months old. He suffered hypoxic injury and cardiac arrest at birth. It took the neonatologist 10 minutes to bring him back to life. Needless to say, they (docs) thought he would have severe TBI. My son has surprised us all by being very alert and appropriate on a cognitive level for his age, however, is suffering from motor delay and possible seizures (video EEG results are currently being reviewed). His first MRI revealed possible basal ganglial damage; his second MRI was negative for injury. Two different MDs read the MRI's and thus I feel this accounts for the difference in findings. My question is what are the detailed responsibilities of the basal ganglia and what clinical symptoms do you see with injury? (athetoid and choreic movements-please define).

DEAR PAT:

I am a first grade teacher with a TBI student in my classroom. I am looking for the best way to teach this student to read. He knows the alphabet and phonetic sounds, however he does not seem to be able to put together the concepts of print to make a word. Can you offer any resources, suggestions? Thank you!

DEAR PAT:

I am an instructional aide at an elementary school. I have just been assigned to work with a second grader who is near drowning victim. I don't know a lot about the child other than the parent's refusal to allow him special services from school because that would label him special ed. At this point, the teachers and school are trying to deal with the parents and in the meantime I have this sweet boy for two 30 min. sessions a week. I need some kind of direction as to how to work with him. At times he is somewhat alert and he knows some letter sounds but seems to be unable to put letter sounds and shapes together to form a word. At other times he is drifting and unfocused. His eyes rolling back in his head. He seems to have short or very little retention of what we are working on. He is on a modified curriculum. Help! What can I do for this child with such short and limited time frames?

DEAR PAT:

Do you have any information that a fetus can sustain a brain injury? I was involved in a motor vehicle accident at 6 months gestation and my son has severe language and developmental delays. My insurance company refuses to pay any medical bills for my son stating that a fetus is protected and cannot be injured.

DEAR PAT:

Do you have any information regarding the use of Ritalin with children with TBI?

DEAR PAT:

I'm glad to see so many people being able to ask you for help, but I didn't see many about TBI in children... Do you know of an educational program or summer camp or something specifically for head injured children?

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